Rarely is there a band that’s two-thirds former music critic, one third not-writer. At least that’s according to Mr. Dream’s Wikipedia page (yes, they’ve got a Wikipedia page). The Brooklyn trio—made up of Godmode founder/ drummer/producer/former Pitchfork contributor Nick Sylvester, guitarist/vocalist/former Pitchfork contributor Adam Moerder, and bassist/vocalist/not-writer Matt Morello—have been making energetic, fast-paced punk music for the past five years or so, and their newest album also marks their last.
Ultimate In Luxury is Mr. Dream’s self-proclaimed “posthumous LP,” released after the band’s split. It’s ten tracks of blistering, disjointed punk jams that run the gamut of influence and pop sensibility. “Making Muscles”, the album’s opener, is slow and groove-based, seeming to draw upon early shoegaze as a chief inspiration. The second track, “Fringy Slider”, sounds like it belongs on a Franz Ferdinand outtakes collection. And like Franz Ferdinand’s music, much of Ultimate In Luxury is incredibly danceable, falling more in line with dance-punk than anything else (though not quite shuffling into DFA proto-disco territory). Songs like “Sad Bastard Unit”, “Mouth Off” and “Cheap Heat” are good examples of this. But where other “dance-punk” bands tend to be upbeat, Mr. Dream aren’t afraid to get dark, using post-punk guitar sounds and minor keys to unsettle the dirt on the dance floor. You’re the dirt, and Mr. Dream are the legs kicking it into the air. It’s fun but off-putting, slimy and sweet at the same time.
Stream the whole album below, and head over to Godmode’s store to order the cassette. There are three different covers available, two featuring either an essay by Moerder or Sylvester, and one that’s a “luxury stamp cover version.” That’s pretty cool, though I’m just not quite sure what makes a luxury stamp “luxurious.” So just listen to the album instead. It’s more fun than a luxury stamp.